Achieving Local and Global Shared Realities: Distance Guides Alignment to Specific or General Social Influences

Humans routinely navigate a multitude of potential social influences, ranging from specific individual’s opinions to general social norms and group values. Whereas specific social influences afford opportunities to achieve shared inner states with particular individuals, general social influences afford opportunities to achieve shared inner states with broader groups. We review recent theory and evidence examining how people tune into different kinds of social influence in the service of shared reality. We argue that the distance of an attitude object (e.g. how far away it is in time or space) systematically influences what kind of social influence informs people’s attitudes. As an attitude object grows more distant, people’s attitudes increasingly align with general (vs. specific) social influences.

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APA-Format Citation

Ledgerwood, A., & Wang, Y. A. (2018). Achieving local and global shared realities: Distance guides alignment to specific or general social influences. Current opinion in psychology.